Photo credit: Lucy Scholey/Metro

Maker Junior was founded by Alison Adnani with the mission to use maker inspired projects to help kids learn about technology. Through a variety of workshops, special events and kits, Maker Junior makes learning about technology fun and accessible for a young generation.

To learn more about Alison and how Maker Junior came to be, we asked her a few questions about it all.

Have you always considered yourself a maker? What’s the story of how Maker Junior came to be?

I have always been a maker! I loved making things as a kid. My favourite class in high school was an electronics shop class. Maker Junior came to be when I saw how much my own sons enjoyed making and how much they learned in the process.

Why is it important for kids to make things? Do we know anything about how this affects them as they grow older or is it too early to tell?

Kids start exploring and making from preschool through the primary grades with traditional arts and crafts materials. Maker Education continues this exploration and challenges students with new materials and technology. Agency by Design is a multi-year research project that studies the impact of maker-centered learning. In a report they released this year they say that while kids are definitely learning new skills and technologies, the biggest benefit of making with kids is more related to a sense of self and community that empower them to engage with the world.

I’ve been hearing a lot lately about Ottawa educational institutions setting up makerspaces. The Museum of Science and Technology is looking into a family friendly makerspace and Joan of Arc Academy is building one for its students. What advice would you give to an educational institution looking to build a makerspace for kids and youth?

This is great! I think all kids should have access to a makerspace. If you’re building one of your own, take some time to look around talk to other teachers and educators who have done this. The #makered hashtag on Twitter has great contributors and resources. I also recommend some clearly laid out paths to getting started. If someone is walking into your makerspace for the first time, what can they do? The goal is to get everyone started making. Exploration and learning come naturally once you’re involved in a project of your own.

It seems a lot of Maker Junior is tech focused. For example, the kits you sell are robots and things that light up and your workshops usually have some electrical component. There’s a large part of the maker movement that isn’t tech. For example, making scarves or working with wood. Why the proclivity for tech? Do you think tech is more interesting for kids? Does it stem from your own technical background?

That’s what I love most about the maker movement, it isn’t just about technology. I do have a technical background and enjoy working with tech. I also appreciate art and craft. It’s fun to bring them together. I think it’s a great way to introduce kids to working with technology.

To learn more about Maker Junior, follow Alison on Twitter and Facebook as well as at the website



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